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Recently, a group of community scientists gathered at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens for a training session where they honed their skills in making phenological observations of common plants. The University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant are set to host a series of in-person workshops for those interested in participating in the Signs of the Seasons citizen science project. The first training session will take place on April 4 at Stimpson’s Point in Brunswick, with additional workshops following in Falmouth, Wells, Augusta, Camden, and Boothbay throughout April and May.

During these workshops, participants will learn how to make scientific observations of phenology, which entails studying cyclic and seasonal changes in plants and animals. They will have the opportunity to practice making observations and acquire the knowledge and tools needed to set up their own site to observe and record changes in phenology. The Signs of the Seasons project is a statewide initiative aimed at recruiting volunteers to identify and record changes in over 20 indicator species crucial for understanding Maine’s changing climate, such as rockweed, milkweed, loons, butterflies, and lilacs.

The data collected by volunteers in this project helps construct an extensive record of the region’s seasonal changes, which is accessible to collaborating scientists and resource managers. These workshops are free to attend; however, registration is required through the program website. Individuals can contact Keri Kaczor or Beth Bisson via email or phone for more information or to request reasonable accommodations.

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